So when Davis came to the plate with the bases loaded, nobody out
and the Brewers down one in the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon,
something had to give.
Fortunately for the Brewers, that something gave in their favor as
Davis, 0-for-3 to that point, ripped a single up the middle, scoring
the tying and winning runs as Milwaukee rallied for a 4-3 victory.
"We are struggling a little offensively, so it was nice to see
that," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We were patient and had
some guys actually walk and get on base. There were some good
at-bats in the ninth inning against a real good pitcher. I was happy
to see that."
With right-hander Mark Melancon on to preserve a one-run lead, right
fielder Ryan Braun led off with a single to right. Melancon followed
by walking catcher Jonathan Lucroy and first baseman Mark Reynolds
to load the bases with nobody out.
That brought up Davis, the Brewers' left fielder who has been mired
in a season-long slump at home. Davis worked the count to 2-2 and
then slapped a cut fastball back up the middle to score Braun and
Lucroy, giving Milwaukee its third series victory over the Pirates
"It feels pretty good to take a series," Davis said. "Winning a
series at home is always important, and that's going to go a long
ways to getting us in the playoffs."
Melanacon (1-2), filling as the closer for injured Jason Grilli,
blew his second save of the season.
"The goal was to strike him out," Melancon said. "I knew I could
kick back and start throwing strikes. ... I was just in a tough
The Pirates lead the majors with 10 blown saves.
"More often than not, if a closer doesn't close, people want to hang
him," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Nobody feels worse than he
does in that clubhouse right now. He's been very efficient. That's
what makes the game so challenging. You have to continually do it,
and there's no safety net when you're in the position of closer.
"They're human beings. Ten is an uncharacteristic number for us at
this point in time compared to what we did last time, there's no
doubt about that."
Pittsburgh took a 3-2 lead into the ninth thanks to home runs by
catcher Tony Sanchez and first baseman Gaby Sanchez and strong
showing by left-hander Wandy Rodriguez in his first start since
coming off the disabled list.
Rodriguez went five innings and allowed two runs, four hits with a
walk and four strikeouts. Milwaukee's only runs against Rodriguez
came on homers by second baseman Rickie Weeks and catcher Martin
[to top of second column]
"I felt good," Rodriguez said. "I only made two mistakes."
All three of Pittsburgh's runs came via home runs off Brewers
right-hander Yovani Gallardo.
Gallardo did not allow a hit through the first four innings but gave
up a leadoff single to left fielder Jose Tabata in the fifth and
then hung an 0-2 slider to Tony Sanchez, who sent it to the opposite
field for his first home run of the season, giving the Pirates a 2-1
After Milwaukee tied it in the bottom of the inning with a home run
by Maldonado, Sanchez connected on Gallardo's first offering of the
sixth for his fourth homer of the season.
Gallardo went 6 1/3 innings and gave up five hits and two walks
while striking out six.
"Yo did a nice job," Roenicke said. "He made one mistake on a high
slider, but I thought he threw well. He kept us in there, and we
Weeks' home run was his first of the season and capped another big
day for the streaky second baseman. He went 3-for-4 with a double to
extend his hitting streak to eight games and is batting .684
(13-for-19) during that stretch.
NOTES: To make room for LHP Wandy Rodriguez on the 25-man roster,
the Pirates optioned OF Jaff Decker to Triple-A Indianapolis before
the game. ... C Jonathan Lucroy started at first base for Milwaukee
as manager Ron Roenicke stacked his lineup with right-handers
against Rodriguez. Lucroy made 14 appearances -- nine starts -- at
first in 2013. ... OF Starling Marte was not in the Pirates'
starting lineup for a fourth consecutive day but did enter as a
pinch hitter in the eighth.
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.